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Sweden unveils 'gender equal pensions' plan

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Sweden unveils 'gender equal pensions' plan
Can Sweden close the gap in pensions-based earnings between the sexes? Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT
08:46 CET+01:00
A plan to achieve gender equal pensions and reduce the gap earned through them by women and men has been agreed by Sweden’s pensions review committee (Pensionsgruppen), the Swedish government has announced.

Women earn an average of 30 percent less than men through their pensions in Sweden, according to the country’s government. Now, the Riksdag's pensions committee, which consists of representatives from six different parties in parliament, has agreed on an action plan to deal with the problem.

The plan consists of eight parts and seeks to, among other things, review the "basic cover" in Sweden's pension system (comprised of the "guarantee pension", a means-tested benefit, and a housing supplement for those of with a low income over 65) as well look at how transferring premium pensions between spouses can be made easier.

"All six parties behind the pensions agreement are determined that together we will have more equal pensions. It’s a long-term effort and the action plan is an important step on the road," Swedish social security minister Annika Strandhäll said in a press release.

"We know that many pensioners have a tough time and 80 percent of those taking a guarantee pension are women. An important part of the ongoing work is therefore to see how the basic cover can be strengthened. A comprehensive review of basic cover hasn't been done since it was introduced 20 years ago and it’s high time it was done," she added.

A further step on the pensions action plan is to investigate the possibility of allowing the transfer of premium pensions between cohabitants.

A number of gender equality initiatives have been unveiled in Sweden in recent years, and the government even presented a new gender equality authority in December dedicated to working towards a gender equal society. The authority is built on an idea first mentioned in a study set up by the previous centre-right government.

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